There have been an array of talents like Ivan Lendl, Michael Chang, Justin Henin whose prowess on the tennis court is unquestionable but the Wimbledon title has constantly eluded them despite their grit and determination. These near misses of the premier tournament have nonetheless enthralled the spectators armed with the traditional strawberry and cream snacks to the hilt.
Ivan Lendl, who made it to the Wimbledon finals twice and had 4 semi-final appearances, lost the title to the likes of Boris Becker and Pat Cash. The man was accused of changing his natural game when on grass and thus considered to be one of the possible reasons of coming so agonizingly closer to winning the title and yet returning empty handed.
Arantxa Sanchez Vicario like Lendl, twice reached the finals but was sent home packing on both occasions by Steffi Graf.
Termed as Female Federer by Martina Navratilova, Justin Henin who announced definitive retirement from tennis for the second time in January 2011 also couldn’t add the much coveted trophy to her kitty of 7 grand slam titles.
The unsung talents like New Jersey’s Michael Chang could not attain immortality on the Wimbledon circuit despite making it to the quarters as a tournament favourite. The French Cup maestro, known as a lethal counter puncher, was always eluded by the elite title.
Marcelo Rios was another such name that could not muster a title win despite his power-packed game.
Jim Courier was a 4 time Grand slam winner who could not add the Wimbledon crown to his trophy-case. He was the runner-up in 1993, a year that saw the all-time tennis great Pete Sampras come in his true element. The 7–6, 7–6, 3–6, 6–3 score at the end of the final remains a statistic but those who witnessed the match would any day vouch that the game they saw was as good as any in the history of Wimbledon.
What makes these players different from the crop of Wimbledon’s victors is something that remains unanswered. The reason for this may be the fact that their game was technically superior to their counterparts but they just couldn’t peak at the right time. All in all, these players had glorious careers and would go down in the history books as greats of the game even without the victory at the lush green environs of Wimbledon.
First Published: Thursday, June 21, 2012, 19:57